THE Patriotic Front will not use short cuts to elect President Michael Sata’s successor, Acting President Guy Scott has declared.
The Acting President said the decision will only be made at the general conference.
Dr Scott also said the Patriotic Front (PF) Central Committee is expected to meet today to discuss the details of holding the general conference where about 5,000 delegates are expected to attend.
“We will elect our candidate in a democratic way through the general conference with representative from wards, constituencies, districts and provinces, this is not an exercise that can be left to a small group to decide the successor of President Sata,” Dr Scott said.
He said this at his office yesterday when he met Uganda Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda who conveyed a message of condolences from President Yoweri Museveni on the death of President Sata.
He warned that allowing the Central Committee to elect a successor might lead to a split of the party.
“Chiluba tried to use the short cut in electing his successor and it led to the split of MMD into four, resulting in the formation of PF, the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) and Heritage Party (HP) because people were aggrieved,” he said.
He said the decision gave United Party for National Development (UPND) advantage to almost win the elections by two per cent.
“We don’t want to allow this situation as we already have hungry people who want to take over from us, therefore, going for general conference no matter how hard it is, the best solution,” he said.
He said people that were demonstrating in his favour and against him were wasting their time as the general conference would decide on the successor.
He reiterated that his task was to facilitate Zambians electing a new President within the 80 days remaining.
He ruled out the excuse of time and lack of money for the Party to hold general conference emphasising that the right action had to be done.
“If it means doing it day and night we will do it, if we have no resources we shouldn’t be in Government. There are people who want us to be in Government and they will help us.”
“Even MPs have just gotten their gratuity they can channel part of the resources towards the conference,” he said.
Dr Rugunda appreciated the proper send off for President Sata and that Uganda shared in Zambia’s grief.
Later Chinese minister of Housing and Urban-Rural development Chen Zhenggao also conveyed messages of condolences on behalf of his President Xi Jinping to Dr Scott.
Mr Zhenggao said he was impressed with the general environment and the number Chinese investors and nationals in the country, which is estimated at 20,000.
Meanwhile, the PF extra-ordinary central committee meeting scheduled for today at State House, will commence at 09:00 hours.
This is according to the agenda circulated by secretary general Edgar Lungu.
Meanwhile five PF youth provincial chairpersons have backed calls for the holding of a general conference to choose a presidential candidate in line with the party constitution.
The five youth chairpersons are from Lusaka, Western, Muchinga, Central and Copperbelt provinces and made the statement after meeting in Lusaka.
It was important to choose a presidential candidate in line with the PF Constitution.
The PF was guided by the Constitution and it was important to follow the constitution in choosing the PF Presidential candidate collectively.
The 42 members of central committee could not come up with a candidate and that the idea was unconstitutional.